Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Twelve Years

Twelve years ago,I married my best friend.  Of all the journeys our love has taken us on, I
feel that this was the year we learned what marriage is truly all about.  In sickness and
in health, for better or for worse, we have found ourselves clinging to one another for dear
life, willing ourselves and our love to be stronger than the tragedy that threatened to tear
us down.  I will never forget that day in the desert and the feeling I had when I thought that
I may never see my husband again.  As I knelt in the dirt and the rocks and the sand, my
legs and arms and hands covered in his blood, literally holding his life in my hands, I felt like
a piece of my heart was slowly dying right alongside his.  The man I have loved since I was
19 years old, who has taught me to love myself as much as he has loved me, was moments
away from dying and all I could do was pray and scream and will him to stay awake.  I
knew that if he died, if he left me on this earth without his companionship, I knew that part
of me would die as well.
But he didn't die.  He lived, he made it through the most horrific accident I have ever
seen. And we are so blessed to be able to celebrate yet another year of marriage together.  

Twelve years of marriage and everything has changed: everything we thought would
happen, everything we planned for came crashing down the day of the accident.  We
were stripped bare as a family, the emotional toll of this experience heavier than we
could have ever expected.  I pushed myself to the absolute limit: working to pay the
bills, caring for Shawn and his multitude of injuries, running our home, raising our girls.
And Shawn pushed himself as well, struggling to get well despite an uncertain future and
a terrible prognosis.  He has always been so strong and invincible and this accident tore
him apart both mentally and physically.  There were days when he felt like I was doing
too much and he wasn't doing enough, he felt inadequate and insecure.  And I told him,
"Your only job right now is to focus on getting better.  Until you're ready to pick up part of
the load, I've got this".

Twelve years of marriage and we have learned so much more about each other: our
strengths, our weaknesses, our deepest and darkest fears all came rushing forward.  We
yelled and screamed and cried and hurt each other, the stress and overwhelming
exhaustion sometimes getting the best of us.  But then we threw all that aside and picked
each other back up, wrapping our arms around the hope and promise that we would make
it through, one way or another.  We found strength and comfort in the constant that is
our love, believing that nothing could tear us apart, not even this.
Twelve years of marriage and I am so thankful for our friendship.  The fact that we not
only LOVE each other but we actually LIKE each other has carried us through some very
dark times.  I will never forget those late nights in the hospital: sneaking down to the
cafeteria for ice cream, cuddling up in Shawn's hospital bed, watching reality TV and
laughing so loudly that the nurses would pop their heads into our room to see what all the
fuss was about.  We experienced a new level of intimacy as I learned to shave my
husband's beard, washed the blood and pain off his body, held his broken hand as he
walked down the hall for the first time.  I experienced the deepest sense of pride as I
witnessed him fight for his life, willing himself to get through this ordeal so that he could
return home to the three women who love him.

Twelve years of marriage and we know now more than ever how precious life is,
how necessary it is to appreciate each day and live it to the fullest.  Last year, I reflected
on how much we appreciate our alone time as well as being together.  These last few
months, however, we are inseparable.  We follow each other around the house, talking
and touching and staying connected.  Not because we have to, but because we want to.
We need each other right now, we need the security of our companionship.  Never has
holding my husband's hand felt so significant: I held his hand at the accident, held it in
the hospital, I held his hand as we drove home to Louisiana, held it in dozens of
doctor's offices.  And I will continue to hold his hand as we fight through this time, fight for
our marriage and our family and the life we were given a second chance to live.  Twelve
years of marriage and I am sure of one true thing: we were always and forever meant to
be, hands bound, Shawn and Liv together.  And our story is only beginning.


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arielle said...

A very happy anniversary to you both! I hope you day is blessed!! :)

Nessa Bixler said...

Happy anniversary! What a beautiful post.

Deanna Fike said...

happy anniversary! if anyone deserves to be happy, it is you and your family! here's to 12 more (and then some) wonderful years!

Kara Motts said...

Wow, this made me cry. Your love for one another and passion for living is really truly inspiring. I am in awe of what you have been through in the past few months and watching you process the accident and his recovery makes me fully convinced that you are one of the strongest women walking this earth. I'm glad so many have surrounded you with the support and care you needed during this season (If I lived closer to you, I would have brought y'all a few dinners and sent you out to get a pedicure!) You are super wife and super mom.

Cheers to 12 years and many, many more!! Hugs and love from NC.

Jodi Hall said...

Happy Anniversary!!

Olivia said...

Thank you friend!

Olivia said...

You made me cry!!! Thank you so much for your neverending love and support, you are truly amazing!! I wish we lived closer to each other! I would have brought dinners over for you, too! Cajun style!!

Olivia said...

Thank you dear friend!! You are the best and you have helped me through this time more than you know!!!

Olivia said...

Thank you!! It is a celebration for sure!

Olivia said...

Thank you Arielle! I hope you and baby are feeling well!!

Jessica said...

Happy Anniversary!! You two are an amazing couple.

Ashley said...

I love this post! So sweet and the pictures are just perfect! You all are truly in the moment.

Caitlin A. said...

Happy anniversary! I am so freaking happy for you guys. Love is awesome.

Heather Kale said...

Happy anniversary! This is a beautiful post! Love the pictures!! Amazing couple and cute family!!!

Kristy Leitch said...

Happy anniversary. This is such a beautiful post, so real and so full of love.